Dragon Ball Super
Episode 90

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 90 of
Dragon Ball Super ?

So the ten man team has been assembled for the Tournament of Power, but it doesn't appear as though we're wrapping up this recruitment arc anytime soon. I'll be honest, the continued realization that we're not ready to just start the darn thing is draining me. I'm going to start having a lot less patience for mediocre episodes.

Thankfully, this episode is not mediocre! The main focus this week is on a couple of sparring matches, which so far have been the more entertaining aspects of this sub-arc. This time, it's all about Goku vs. his own son, Gohan. There's something hilarious about Piccolo training Gohan for these past few episodes, then having him very seriously march into a restaurant and challenge his own dad to a fight. There are a lot of jokes out there about Piccolo being Gohan's true dad (especially considering Goku's absence for most of his son's life), and moments like this are evidence of the show's self-awareness. Gohan's apparent bitterness and Piccolo smirking from behind his shoulder have a comically sinister edge to them.

I had a problem a couple of episodes ago with the way the show addressed Gohan's loss of strength over the years. I didn't mind that he was weak, but I certainly didn't believe there was much you could teach a guy like him at this point. I've also had a small issue with the show's general lack of acknowledging just how powerful the guys at the top of this ten man team have been for hundreds of episodes now. This episode does a good job alleviating both of those concerns, as Gohan's gotten his groove back quickly, and the following fight concludes with Goku doing his Super Saiyan Blue combined with the Kaio-Ken thing, with the size and majesty of his power being conveyed via the shaking earth and an angelic choir. The colors of glowing red, blue, and purple look great against the starry sky, with a real celestial vibe going for them. The other fighters like Piccolo and Tien are present, but it's been made pretty clear that the Saiyans are still in another league.

This is not a perfect episode by any means, however. The main characters are suffering from an onslaught of wonky face animation, and as action-packed as this whole episode is, a lot of the fighting in the middle gets repetitive, and I found my imagination drifting elsewhere. There's also that remaining concern that the show will just continue to rely on fair sparring episodes and never actually get to the Tournament of Power. It's been so long! What are we training for again?

I'd say we're almost at the end of the recruitment arc, but it's clearly irresponsible of me to claim at this point. Thankfully, this is a good episode and an example of the show using its self-awareness (mostly centered around the massive Gohan fan fervor) to make something a little bit more exciting than usual. There's also a continued peek at how the other universes are doing in their fighter roundups, but there's nothing especially noteworthy to comment on there. Super trots along doing its thing, and I feel like I'm still scrambling to get a pulse on when it's going to do something interesting, because it does always get there eventually, however many "meh" episodes have to happen beforehand.

Rating: B+

Dragon Ball Super is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Sam Leach records about One Piece for The One Piece Podcast and you can find him on Twitter @LuckyChainsaw

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